Home Arts Unesco chief pledges to help rebuild Ukraine’s heritage and culture, but $6.9 billion investment needed

Unesco chief pledges to help rebuild Ukraine’s heritage and culture, but $6.9 billion investment needed

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The Unesco director-general has pledged to help rebuild Ukraine’s shattered cultural sector after visiting the war-torn country earlier this week. During her visit, Audrey Azoulay told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that “to rebuild but also to redress the situation, it will be necessary to invest 6.9 billion dollars in the cultural sector in Ukraine over the next ten years”, indicates a press release. of Unesco. .

Azoulay carried out a two-day mission in Ukraine, visiting kyiv, Chernihiv and Odessa, reaffirming “the organization’s support for the population [as well as] advancing the reconstruction of the country’s cultural sector”.

A detailed Unesco report outlines the huge overall cost of cultural recovery and reconstruction in Ukraine, estimating “short-term needs” (2023-26) at $2.3 billion and “long-term needs”. medium and long term” (2027-2033) at 4.6 dollars. billion, totaling $6.9 billion.

“The first stage should include damage assessment and documentation, emergency measures for immovable and movable cultural property (including removal of debris), stabilization and conservation measures for cultural property, management storage, preparation plans and immediate preservation to prevent further loss and looting,” the report states.

Azoulay inside the Chernihiv Regional Youth Center

©UNESCO/Dmytro Kuyznietsov

A comprehensive recovery plan is needed to rebuild the sector, the document adds. “This plan should include alignment with international standards, strengthened legal protection and governance, the development of protocols and guidelines for the protection and recovery of cultural heritage, and a comprehensive digital architecture to document and manage cultural property”.

In a series of tweets, Azoulay described his itinerary in Ukraine, highlighting recent emergency measures by Unesco, including “the mobilization of more than 10 million dollars to strengthen its response to the educational emergency”. [in the country]”.

Unesco will also offer a series of practical training sessions on site reconstruction for Ukrainian architects, conservators and urban planners, it added on social media. Unesco continues to document and assess damage to Ukrainian cultural sites since the war began in February last year.

In the northern city of Chernihiv, Azoulay announced that “Unesco will develop this year with the authorities a complete project for the rehabilitation of the historic center, included on the indicative list of the country’s world heritage”.

Odessa Plaque World Heritage Listing

©UNESCO/Dmytro Kuyznietsov

In February, Unesco voted to add the historic city center of the Ukrainian port city of Odessa to its list of endangered World Heritage Sites. The cosmopolitan city, which has ancient Greek roots and was under Ottoman control for centuries, is known for its architectural landmarks such as the Odessa Opera House and the giant harbor staircase immortalized in Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 silent film . Battleship Potemkin.

Russia’s Unesco commission, however, said in a statement that the decision to grant Odessa endangered species status was “politically biased and scientifically unfounded” and had only been adopted with the support of a minority. “It should be clarified that the only threat to this city with a rich history comes from the Ukrainian nationalist regime, which has systematically destroyed the monuments to the great founders and defenders of Odessa, namely Empress Catherine II and her associates.” he added.

“Following registration [of Odesa]Unesco will further strengthen actions on the ground, giving priority to the preservation and digitization of artistic and documentary heritage while maintaining the protection of heritage buildings threatened by artillery fire,” Unesco said the day after of the visit to Azoulay.

He will also launch a project to improve the conservation of the collections of the Odessa Archaeological Museum with funding from the foundation of the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière.

Our report last year, however, highlighted how the war in Ukraine underlies the tense policy of Unesco.

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